Nagano 1998 – Look of the Games

Designer: Landor Associates, Tokyo


Only on closer inspection does Nagano’s Look of the Games reveal itself in all its sophistication: the pattern consist of drawn, abstract representations of winter sportspeople. Each individual athlete is drawn with brushstrokes, a technique borrowed from traditional Japanese calligraphy, which distinguishes itself from the calligraphy of European languages, for which a pen has usually been used. In fact, the brushstroke athletes who make up the patterns of the Look are sports pictogram designs by Hidetaka Matsunaga. Although these brushstroke figures were ultimately not used for the pictograms, they were very much used for the Look of the Games – double the yield, so to speak, with the same effort.
The patterns of the Look of the Games allow great flexibility with regard to their application: individually or joined together, in different sizes and colours (monochrome or multicoloured), the various elements of the Look can be combined almost arbitrarily. Clearly, the two variants are very closely related to each other, but still differ: compared to pattern 2, the individual figures in pattern 1 are much closer to each other. In other words: the proportion of white between the figures is much higher in pattern 2. Moreover, the arrangement of the figures varies between the two patterns: the graphic standards manual stipulates that the two patterns of the Look should always be used separately and never mixed. The interaction of the many athletes who make up the Look’s patterns is intended to underline the sense of community at the Olympic Games.